How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes near Dothan Alabama
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist school near Dothan AL is an important initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, most potential students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.
Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Dothan AL laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Dothan AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Dothan AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the principal certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it could be a more practical option for many Dothan AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Dothan AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Dothan AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact several Dothan AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Dothan AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Dothan AL medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the final college you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Dothan AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Dothan AL medical environments, well this job probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right profession for you.
Pick the Right Dothan Phlebotomist School
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a number of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can differ a bit across the country as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each school before making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Dothan Alabama.